The Force of the Horse

‘Stop the Yellowstone Massacre’: Group Puts Up Billboards Urging End to Bison Slaughter

as published on the Bozeman Daily Chronicle

“The most recent update from Yellowstone National Park said that 179 bison had been sent to slaughter….”

photo by Rachel Leathe

photo by Rachel Leathe

Drivers heading south from Four Corners on Highway 191 will now zip past a billboard with a gory scene and a simple message: dead bison, lying in a pool of blood underneath block letters asking people to call Montana’s governor and tell him to “Stop the Yellowstone Massacre.”

The billboard is one of two that the Alliance for the Wild Rockies bought, the other being in Helena. Steve Kelly, a board member for Alliance for the Wild Rockies and the artist who painted the picture, said they hope people will see the signs and pressure Montana Gov. Steve Bullock into blocking the annual shipping of Yellowstone bison to slaughter for the year.

“It’s a horrendous thing,” Kelly said. “He’s the one who has the power to stop it.”

The signs went up this week, arriving after hundreds of bison have already been sent to slaughterhouses and while another few hundred wait their turn. Alliance for the Wild Rockies is one of several environmental groups that oppose shipping bison to slaughter, a practice government officials consider necessary to meet population reduction goals each year.

“The National Park Service needs to address bison overpopulation in Yellowstone National Park,” said Bullock spokeswoman Ronja Abel in an emailed statement.

The culling of Yellowstone’s bison herd happens because of a 17-year-old management plan rooted in fears of the disease brucellosis. Brucellosis can cause animals to abort their calves, and the livestock industry worries that if bison are allowed to roam farther outside of the park that the disease might be spread to cattle herds, though no case of bison transmitting the disease to cattle has been documented in the wild.…(CONTINUED)

15 replies »

  1. I hope it helps , i think that’s the reason so many people visit is to see the bison. It’s part of the history of the old west. Its ashame people have to wreck our wildlife and the horrendous act of cruelty they have to inflict on them. It’s disturbing and inhumane the way people just destroy the wildlife . It’s so sad the we have to fight to save the beautiful landmarks and the animals our National Parks. The outdoors and nature was ment to be enjoyed for generations to come and to be destroyed . Save what we can to before it’s to late.

    On Feb 25, 2017 8:55 AM, “Straight from the Horse’s Heart” wrote:

    > R.T. Fitch posted: “By Michael Wright as published on the Bozeman Daily > Chronicle “The most recent update from Yellowstone National Park said that > 179 bison had been sent to slaughter….” Drivers heading south from Four > Corners on Highway 191 will now zip past a b” >


  2. I notice that the newspaper story fails, as is the usual, to point out that brucellosis is in elk and deer herds as well. But we don’t see a campaign to annihilate them like with the bison culling operation. I think the hunter contingent would have a meltdown if that were proposed by the livestock industry, so we have one group, the bison, taking all the blame—and no documented cases of transmission from bison to cattle.


    • Sad that some of our park service is no better than slaughterhouse employees! Makes me sick. Mistreating them for no other reason than that they are WILD!


    • Hard as it might be to view this “Bison Trap” people need to know whats going on in our country, and lets all try in some big or small way to make them stop it, these animals don’t need to die, someone stands to receive financial gain I’ll just bet



    ” is not native to North America but was introduced with the importation of European breeds of domestic cattle”


    The same species of B. abortus occurs in cattle, bison, elk, and sometimes other wildlife species, and transmission of B. abortus among cattle, bison, and elk has occurred in captivity, which documents their common susceptibility and the potential for transmission in the wild. B. abortus probably
    is not native to North America but was introduced with the importation of European breeds of domestic cattle (Meagher and Meyer 1994).

    Bison and cattle are considered to belong not only to different species, but
    different genera (Bison and Bos). Recent studies of mtDNA (Janecek et al. 1996) suggest that bison and cattle are sufficiently closely related that they should be placed in the same genus—Bos—but that revision has not yet been accepted by the Nomenclature Committee of the American Society of Mammalogists, the body that sanctions such changes.


  4. From The Buffalo Fields

    American taxpayers pay nearly all of the expenses for both Yellowstone National Park and the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) as they molest and slaughter wild buffalo in Montana under the auspices of the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP Background – PDF)!

    Due to separate budgeting processes, complex and non-transparent reporting, and the lack of detailed expenditures-it would be difficult for you to keep a tally of American taxpayer spending on DOL/IBMP activities in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

    Viewed together, the documents clearly show us a variety of inter-related facts:

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is a funding conduit for American taxpayer dollars, backs Montana’s statute outlawing migratory buffalo in the state, and places this wild, indigenous species under the jurisdiction of the DOL.

    Millions of your taxpayer dollars are spent each year through the IBMP with little or no oversight. These public monies are used to molest and destroy thousands of wild buffalo for the “crime” of walking into public lands. Meanwhile, buffalo are scapegoated (and killed) for transmitting a disease to cattle despite the fact that science has proven transmission from species other than wild buffalo, but never a single instance from buffalo!

    American taxpayer subsidies are outlawing migratory bison in Montana. The IBMP is estimated to cost American taxpayers over $3,000,000 annually, based on U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates. The GAO reports the bison management plan is almost completely paid for with American taxpayer dollars. For example: Total (related) U.S. Treasury expenditures in 2006 were $3,304,817. How long will “we the people” stand by while our money is used to kill the few remaining wild buffalo?

    APHIS and DOL cooperative funding agreements, work plans, and Memorandums of Agreement from 2001 to 2010 placed nearly $6,000,000 of American taxpayer money into DOL’s hands to enforce regulation number MCA 81-2-120 (“Management of wild buffalo or wild bison for disease control”). Thus fully funding the livestock agency’s role in the IBMP.

    Additional millions of American taxpayers’ dollars are funneled to state and federal agencies via APHIS, as they spends millions of dollars subsidizing “brucellosis disease risk management” to protect the cattle industry in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. This does not include additional taxpayer-funded appropriations to cattle ranchers by the Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming legislatures. For example, Wyoming appropriated $3,000,000 for brucellosis management of wildlife and cattle in 2006, and Governor Brian Schweitzer’s 2011 budget included $135,531 in federal funds for the bison management plan and $705,274 in state special funds to pay for Montana ranchers’ brucellosis herd plans. Your tax dollars hard at work?


  5. The Sheridan Press (a few excerpts from a news item)

    Blackfeet say they’ll move bison onto disputed sacred area
    Saturday, October 8, 2016

    BILLINGS (AP) – Leaders of Montana’s Blackfeet Indian Reservation announced plans on Friday to establish a herd of bison on U.S. Forest Service land near Glacier National Parkthat tribal members consider sacred

    The tribe on Friday released a proclamation saying the bison, also known as buffalo, would be able to roam freely within the Badger-Two Medicine area. The 130,000-acre area within the Lewis and Clark National Forest is located just east of the Blackfeet reservation and has been the focus of a long-running dispute over proposed oil and gas drilling. It’s been designated by federal officials as a Traditional Cultural District of the Blackfeet under the National Historic Preservation Act.

    “We were always a buffalo people so we’re trying to return some of that culturally- significant aspect of our culture,” Barnes said. “This makes that designated area more complete both culturally and as an ecosystem.” Barnes told The Associated Press that tribal officials have held preliminary discussions with federal officials about the tribe’s plans. Representatives of the Lewis and Clark Forest did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

    The U.S. Interior Department earlier this year canceled a 6,200-acre oil and gas lease in the Badger-Two Medicine, citing in part the area’s spiritual significance to the Blackfeet as the site of the tribe’s creation story.

    The company that owns the lease, Solenex LLC, has sued the government to overturn the cancellation.

    Barnes said the bison relocation was unrelated to the legal dispute.


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